Step By Step:
- CALL POLICE: gather info; take cell phone pictures of car, insurance and license.
- HIRE A LAWYER ASAP: so evidence does not get cold or destroyed.
- BE HONEST and DON’T HIDE PRIOR ACCIDENTS FROM YOUR LAWYER OR DOCTOR
- DON’T MISS MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS OR HAVE GAPS IN TREATMENTS: Adjusters know jurors expect victims to treat regularly, without missing appointments. Otherwise jurors ask “how badly could they have been injured or they did not seek on going medical treatment”
- PURCHASE ADEQUATE INSURANCE: Many CV locals DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE OR ENOUGH AUTO INSURANCE. You need more than the minimum insurance on your car with UM to match. Without more than $15k you are taking your life in your own hands. In the last 18 months, two of my clients died in separate accidents. The “at fault” party had $15k or NO insurance coverage AND my clients only had $15k.
- PROPERTY DAMAGE: If your lawyer suggests a body shop…go there. Don’t take your car to a friend’s body shop so that your $7,000 property damage is fixed for $2,500. One insurance company criteria for settling is to look at the amount of your car’s property damage. When it is low the insurance companies makes low offers. REMEMBER, INSURANCE CO’S HIRE BIASED EXPERTS TO DENY, DELAY AND UNDERPAY CLAIMS.
- SILENCE IS GOLDEN: When the police or adjuster wants to talk to you, remember this adage. It is not only what you say BUT what the adjuster or officer THOUGHT HE HEARD YOU SAY. DON’T GIVE A STATEMENT TO ANY INSURANCE CO WITHOUT YOUR LAWYER’S OK.
- GET IMMEDIATE MED TREATMENT: Refusing to take an ambulance to the hospital because you did not want to incur ambulance or emergency room bills with your limited finances hurts your case.
- DON’T HANDLE THE CASE YOURSELF: Don’t initially handle the case. Getting a maximum recovery is a “work of art”. Don’t put your bills through Medicare or Medicaid. There are many reasons but just don’t do it.
- DON’T TREAT WITH THE WRONG DOC: Don’t use your regular doctor! Instead consider one your lawyer suggests that you had not seen before. Your regular doctor’s file has all your prior complaints and injuries and we all have skeletons in our closet…things you do not realize are skeletons. The insurance company will interpret the following as a skeleton: prior accidents; seeing a shrink (that does not play well in front of some jurors unless you see the doc for this accident) and a venereal disease; abortion (without sharing with your spouse) and alcohol or drug issue are issues.
- SEE A DOCTOR EXPERIENCED WITH PREPARING MED/LEGAL REPORTS: You want a doctor who is not only a good physician but is good at writing MED/LEGAL reports. The doctor’s description of your pains is critical. That is why for years I lectured to the International College of Surgeons at their annual conference on “How to Write a Med/Legal Report”.
- DON’T HIRE AN OUT OF TOWN LAWYER: Though good lawyers, they will not know the local judges and court personnel (clerks and bailiffs) and a lawyer can often get a lot of info from them…if they are friends.
- TAKE DOWN SOCIAL MEDIA (FB): Don’t post that you’re feeling great or running to play tennis or golf. The insurance company will argue if you were well enough to play a sport you couldn’t be hurt that badly. Social media is the biggest advance for insurance companies who no longer have to hire private investigators. They learn from your daily posts how you are doing and that could be the kiss of death for your case. Take down your social media until the case is over. The insurance company can learn your friends and have investigators talk to them and learn how healthy you are. Your friends may assume you are ok because you do not complain.
You must realize that insurance companies do whatever they can to deny, delay and pay less money on any case… AUTO, HURRICANE, FLOODS, FIRE… IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
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“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life 2011-2018 2011-18 (PI/DUI)
“TOP LAWYER” Inland Empire Magazine Nov 2016
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